Designing with Air @ Salone Milan 2014

Designing with Air @ Salone Milan 2014

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A creative team from Fabrica (the design research lab under Benetton ) led by Sam Baron ( director of design at Fabrica ) has designed a number of installations that “give shape to air” – the most commonly employed means to transfer heat and one that reflects the mission of Japanese firm Daikin, a partner in the initiative, which has always sought to ‘air-condition’ our lives.


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Sam Baron, Director of Design at Fabrica, added: “We conceived design as a practice that must communicate through form and function and an exchange between opposites in projects with universal appeal. These installations show how design sets out from an object and reaches towards sound, graphics and interactivity.”

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The exhibition presented eight main design themes that develop the same concept with different formal results, distinguished by a stated temperature.

These range from delightful bases for plants enclosed in ice cubes – agaves that live at 19.1°C, cactus at 17.2° and aloe at 25°C – to installations of propellers, single or in groups, that represent the annual bird migration from cold to hot climes.

One of these birds, the Arctic Tern, is the bird that spends the most time in the daylight, flying every year from the Arctic to the Antarctic, where it encounters an average summer temperature of -27°C.

There are also ice caves where only fire can create the conditions required for life, at a body temperature of 37°C, to glass cases containing aromas, cold ones like mint or hot ones like cinnamon.

From waterfalls that freeze over, with the heat produced by their own movement, below 0°C, to the solar planet system, the hottest planet being Venus with temperatures of 462°C and the coldest Neptune with its –201°C.

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Sam Baron explained. “We wanted to tell a new story about weather, one that plays with opposites to explore our relative personal and cultural experiences of weather—and to give people a multi-sensory experience to remember.”

Exploring air, temperature, and their effects on the five senses, the conceptually driven Hot Fell in Love with Cold features tropical plants encased in ice, interactive fans, aromatic dispensers, and more all in white.



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The most esoteric installation in the group is also the most riveting: A clutch of plants, including cacti, aloe vera, and birds of paradise flowers, are on display, trapped in giant ice cubes.

As the ice melts away, petals and leaves start to protrude through the sides of the botanical ice sculptures.

It’s a strange visualization of heat, time, and flora in bloom, all at once



Exhibition Gallery

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Hot & Cold provided a conceptual representation of temperature through a series of multi-sensory artistic and sculptural installations that give shape to air.

Hot & Cold, an interactive exhibition invited visitors to participate in an immersive laboratory of hot and cold experiences


fabrica hot & cold milan 2014

Visiting the exhibition is a sensorial experience that engages direct visitor involvement via aromas, music and strong synesthetic perceptions.

The 36 pieces on display at this conceptual art installation are the compelling result of a partnership between design think tank Fabrica and Daikin

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The Fabrica designers have a talent for thinking outside the box, and Creative Climates is no exception: Each piece is a physical, kinetic, and highly symbolic expression of the weather.

They’re perplexing, and frankly sublime to behold.

exhibition concept

We think of air as invisible.

Fabrica understands it as a motorized sculpture with hand-painted feathers that mimics the migratory patterns of five birds.

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Air is also expressed by a hanging series of borosilicate glass tubes (that spell A-I-R), and the heat from an oil lantern burns a black char on the glass.

It lets you actually see the air in the tubes


Highlights also included an acoustic installation that combined the climatic sounds of our Solar System’s hottest and coldest planets, Venus and Neptune,

A series of kinetic compositions evoking the seasonal migration of exotic birds—”a migrating bird is always looking for the perfect weather conditions”



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Hot & Cold Design Scientists

Sam Baron


Garage Milano,

via Achille Maiocchi 5/7, Milan.



About Sam Baron

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Born in France in 1976, designer Sam Baron earned his undergraduate degree in design from the École des Beaux Arts of Saint Etienne and his post-graduate degree from the École Nationale Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs in Paris.

Baron’s portfolio includes furniture, accessories, graphics, and interior and exhibition design.

His projects are consistently marked by reinterpretations of traditional construction methods, which call into question the utility of contemporary material production.

As an independent designer and consultant, he’s worked with prestigious clients across the globe, including Louis Vuitton, L’Oreal, and Ligne Roset.

Since 2006, Baron has worked as director of the design department at Fabrica, Benetton’s communication research center.

His work has earned multiple awards:

In 2007, Baron won the design category award of the Grand Prix de la Création de La Ville de Paris, and he received Elle Décor France’s Art de la Table award in 2009.

In 2010, during the Maison & Objet fair, he was chosen by Philippe Starck as one of the ten important designers of the next decade.

In 2011, he received the Silver Cube from the Art Directors Club of New York.

Baron lives and works between Lisbon, Paris, and Treviso, Italy.


About Fabrica

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Fabrica is a communication research centre.

Located in Treviso, it is an integral part of the Benetton Group.

Fabrica was established in 1994 and offers a one-year study scholarship to an extremely diverse international community of researchers studying design, communication, photography, interaction, video, music, journalism and media.

Fabrica is based in a 17th Century villa that has been restored and enlarged by Japanese architect Tadao Ando.


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